7.30pm ToryDiary update: Figures for Guardian/ICM poll are Tories on 40% to Labour's 31%

7.15pm Nick Bosanquet on CentreRight: The dangers of the PBR’s ‘hockey stick projections’?

5.45pm ToryDiary: Tories 9% ahead in Guardian/ICM poll

5.45pm WATCH: Gordon Brown pledges to spend £150 million on tackling IEDs in Afghanistan

Eric card3.30pm ToryDiary: Happy Christmas from Eric Pickles and Santa Claus!

3.15pm WATCH: Gordon Brown foolishly goes to shake the hand of a soldier standing to attention in Afghanistan at the weekend

2.30pm Jim McConalogue on CentreRight: 100 Reasons why the ‘Copenhagen’ Governments and other proponents of “man-made” Global Warming theory of Climate Change are completely wrong

12.45pm Parliament: Tories propose amendments to legislation to end "double-jobbing" by Northern Ireland's politicians

12.30pm Daniel Hamilton on CentreRight: Is South America about to take a rightward turn?

10.15am Local Government: Is there enough salt to cope with frozen roads?

ToryDiary: Two changes to ConHome's presentation of opinion polls

Mark Field MP on Platform: The damage to the economy that would be caused by the political uncertainty of a hung parliament should not be underestimated

Claire Perry Seats and Candidates Diary of a PPC: Claire Perry demonstrates that she has hit the ground running as Michael Ancram's successor in Devizes

Local Government: John Healey attacks home ownership – for others

ThinkTankCentral: Profile of the Institute of Economic Affairs

International: The ideological confusion of Nicolas Sarkozy

LeftWatch: Does Polly Toynbee read The Guardian?

Julia Manning on CentreRight shares an experience of people getting in the way of NHS software

WATCH: During a trip to Afghanistan, Gordon Brown thanks our troops for their dedication and professionalism throughout the year

Cameron: We are ready for March election

David Cameron blue background "The Tory leader said his party was “all systems go” amid growing speculation that Gordon Brown is considering a general election as early as March 25. Mr Cameron said: "I have been saying internally that I think March 25 is quite a likely date if the Prime Minister wants any freedom of manoeuvre. I have said to all my team to be ready in the New Year for an early election. All systems are go, we are clearing manifestos." – Daily Telegraph

"Holding the election six weeks early would give Mr Brown several advantages. His team hope official figures released in January will show Britain has emerged from the recession, allowing Labour to argue its fiscal stimulus package rescued the country from a protracted depression… A March poll would see voters turning out before tax increases kick in… and help Labour avoid holding an austerity Budget" – The Independent

"Alistair Darling is preparing to deliver a pre-election Budget in the spring, despite a wave of speculation that Gordon Brown may opt for an early contest. Treasury officials are working on the expectation that there will be a Budget in mid-March, even though David Cameron yesterday became the latest politician to suggest that the election will come on March 25" – The Times

Labour faces wipe-out if it waits till May – William Rees-Mogg in The Times

> Last Wednesday's ToryDiary: Tories accelerate planning for end-March election

George Osborne 'not against big bonus tax'

Picture 34 "Shadow chancellor George Osborne has said he does not oppose a one-off government tax on bankers' bonuses. It comes after Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson warned the tax would "super-penalise" the city. Mr Osborne told BBC One's Politics Show he would wait to see whether the windfall tax worked in practice and would "judge it by its results". – BBC

A Tory Government would make all peers and MPs pay UK tax

"David Cameron has told Sky News that all MPs and peers would have to be full UK taxpayers if the Tories are elected. The Conservative leader said he wanted to put the tax status of parliamentarians "beyond doubt". He spoke to Sky's Adam Boulton in the wake of controversy surrounding the tax statuses of deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft and prospective Tory MP Zac Goldsmith." – Sky News

> WATCH: Cameron promises law to compel all MPs and peers to be full UK taxpayers

Mundell ‘sidelined’ as McLetchie leads Tory election fight in Scotland

"David McLetchie, the former Scots Tory leader, is to head the party’s general election campaign in Scotland in a move that will be seen as sidelining David Mundell, the Shadow Scottish Secretary and the only Conservative MP north of the Border." – The Times

> Yesterday in Seats and Candidates: David McLetchie MSP charged with winning eleven Scottish seats for David Cameron

Parents enticed by Michael Gove's plan for 'free schools'…

Michael Gove happy "Hundreds of parent groups have come forward to set up schools under Conservative plans to overhaul the education system which could see new community-run primaries and secondaries given the go-ahead within months of a change of government, figures seen by the Guardian reveal." – The Guardian

…as he welcomes U-turn on draconian vetting procedures

"Ministers were on the ­retreat last night over plans to force any adult coming into contact with children to undergo a criminal record check… Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove said: “Parents, teachers and volunteers across the country are united in recognising that the vetting and barring scheme had to change. Ed Balls’s moves today are welcome, but there are still fundamental problems which need to be addressed if we’re to have a proper focus on keeping children safe and a society built on trust in which volunteers are instinctively respected.” – Daily Express

Boris: Why I am going to the Copenhagen summit

"We have a real chance to agree new targets for reducing CO2
emissions – and to bring in countries such as China and India which
were, insanely, omitted from the Kyoto protocol. We also have a chance
to do something about the politics of global warming, which are in
danger of going seriously wrong. We won't win this argument with the
public, we won't get people to change their lives, we won't succeed in
cutting CO2 if we continue to rely on a diet of unremitting gloom. It
is time for a change in the psychological approach." – Boris Johnson in
the Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: 'Green Boris' says Darling's supertax on bankers is unlikely to work

Theresa May: the woman who could be the most powerful woman in British politics in six months' time

Picture 33 "While a number of Conservative women insist, like Margaret Thatcher, that their gender is not an issue, May has never been one of them. When Labour took power in 1997, having a minister for women in Harriet Harman was generally considered on the opposition benches to be a lefty gesture towards identity politics, indicative of tiresome special pleading to come. May accepted the shadow position though, and took it seriously. She still does, and gender equality is what she wants most to discuss today." Theresa May interviewed by Deborah Orr for The Guardian

Boris Johnson fuels speculation over future plans for Tory leadershipThe Guardian

Dan Lewis: Our politicians must act on energy before the lights go out in BritainYorkshire Post

Tories hit at barely used flagship housing programmeFT

Bercow moots idea of non-geographical constituency for SpeakersDaily Mail

Ex-DPP: Blair tricked us into Iraq WarThe Times

Taliban can be admired for their faith and loyalty, says Forces' bishopDaily Telegraph


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